I’m currently reading The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler by Andre Pichot and the Darwinian pattern of citing imaginary evidence is noted. Unfortunately this has been noted “for a very long time” and will continue to be noted for as long as Darwinian reasoning is taught to ignorant school boys who are led to think that imagining things about the past is the equivalent of “science.”
Pichot notes two things, the impact of naturalism and the imaginary forms of evidence that emerge from it:
Here I shall just note two points that seem fundamental in the critique of the biologization of society, and specially its Darwinization. They have both been noted for a very long time, but perhaps have not always been given their due.
The first of these–the false naturalization of society–has already been mentioned. Darwinism imported sociological ideas into biology, and sociology took them back again once they had been ‘naturalized.’ The second…is what Novicow (who perhaps coined the phrase) called the ‘anthropological fable.’ The anthropological fable is the foundation of Darwinian sociology…
…the anthropological fable is a work of imagination, a historical scenario, yet offered as an explanation of one or another social phenomenon of either that time or our own. It is a kind of reverse science fiction, situated in the past rather than in the future. …
What claim can this kind of historical fiction make to be scientific? It simply cannot, even in the loosest sense of science. It is just that the anthropological fable appeals to ideas of competition, struggle, selection, etc., ideas of Darwinian biology–or rather, socio-economic ideas that Darwinism borrowed and naturalized, thus giving them scientific backing. Returned to the sociology from whence they came, they are endowed with a kind of scientific aura, and their use in anthropological fables confers on the latter a dignity to which they have no right.
The problem is that Darwinism, properly speaking, resorts to just this kind of historical scenario in its explanation of the origin of species. The simplest of these scenarios, in its modern form, sees a certain characteristic as appearing by chance mutation and, once shown to be favourable to its individual bearer, being preserved by natural selection. This basic model can be given added sophistication, mathematical for example, but the fact remains that the Darwinian explanation still consists in imagining a historical scenario… To criticize the explanatory principle that the anthropological model provides in social Darwinism [i.e. Nazism] is equally to criticize the Darwinian principle that explains the evolution of species by reconstructing historical scenarios. It thus amounts to an attack on science (since Darwinism is deemed scientific, at least among biologists)….
(The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler by Andre Pichot :47-49)
Filed under: Uncategorized |